I Said It Before and I’ll Say It Again

In 2011, I wrote a column entitled “Let’s Ban Another ‘N’ Word” because I was sick and tired of people using references to Hitler and his Nazi regime to label and describe people and their actions with whom they disagree.  I’m talking about people and their actions here in the United States.  Whatever the situation (with the exception of abortion, but that’s a whole other topic), there are no atrocities being carried out in this country that could even begin to compare to the horror that the Nazis inflicted on the people in Europe.

Revisiting this subject is the result of my recent attendance at a production of the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”  We were able to hear the words of this remarkable young teenager, who, between 1942 and 1944, lived in a 16’ x 20’ attic with mother, father and sister and four other people in Amsterdam, in an attempt to hide from the savage brutality of the Nazis, and who believed “in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”  Hiding and living under those conditions, simply because she was a Jew, you would think she would’ve become angry, miserable and cynical, the way people on the far Left today view our country.

While I sat in that theatre, I couldn’t help but think about Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez’s recent comments that there are concentration camps right here in this country:

Some might argue she specifically distinguished “concentration camps” from “extermination camps” but I’m not so sure Ms. Ocasio-Cortez even knows the difference.  In either case – it was a living nightmare.  Even the über Left Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, took exception to her reference:  “I respect her greatly and I feel very close to her in terms of philosophy, but of course she was wrong.  You cannot compare what the Nazis did in the concentration camps.”  I’m sure the average person also makes no such distinction.  The mention of “concentration camps” raises the spectre of the Holocaust and the slaughter of 6 million people.  Whatever Ms. Ocasio-Cortez meant, her comments only insult those people who actually suffered and died during the darkest years of the 20th Century.

We could sit here all day discussing legal vs. illegal immigration or whether this country should adopt an open borders policy or amnesty.  We could discuss the reason why Congress is reluctant to act on immigration, the existence of sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce the duly-enacted laws of the United States, what to do with the hundreds of thousands of people seeking “asylum” here and our “catch and release” policy that allows people to disappear into the country without any way to require their appearance at court hearings.

But to invoke Nazism into any of this discussion is, at worst, stupid, or, at best, completely misinformed and totally absurd.   More important than any of the name calling is the most significant fact in this whole discussion which I have not heard one talking head on television discuss or confront Ms. Ocasio-Cortez with during interviews.

Hitler specifically and intentionally rounded up Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, Roma, disabled people and others for no reason other than he deemed them to be “undesirable.”  It was involuntary.  It was not their choice. Absolutely nothing like that is going on in this country.

The President hasn’t sent troops south of the border to “round” people up, bring them across the border and put them in concentration camps.  People, in the thousands, voluntarily come across our border with every intention of staying in this country.  Whether they are choosing to immigrate into America legally or illegally or whether they are seeking asylum or not, they are crossing our border and they need to be processed by immigration officials in accordance with our laws.  If they intend to come into this country, they have to know that they will be detained, their children may be placed elsewhere, and their applications handled in whatever length of time it takes.  It is their choice.  How does their voluntary entry into our country compare to what the Nazis did?

When I listen to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, she reminds me of the tedious home shopping network hosts that have a list of talking points who spew endless, mindless, repetitive thoughts to include those talking points.  I’m not even sure Ms. Ocasio-Cortez knows or understands what she’s saying.  I wonder if she has ever visited any center at the border or any of the concentration camps in Europe or could even identify Josef Mengele, Adolf Eichmann, Reich Marshall Hermann Göring, Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher.  She and others like her, are so blinded by their ideology that she just talks without thinking and hasn’t truly examined what she’s saying.  I’d like to think that the U.S. Representative from New York is not a stupid woman, but when she makes these kinds of statements, what would any ordinary person (Independent voters) think?  I can’t believe any of them thinks this woman is rational.

Unfortunately, she’s no different than the any number of people who claim President Trump is a Nazi.  In my previous column, I mentioned numerous references to “Nazis” by all sorts of people including Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), who claimed the Republican attack on health care reform was akin to the propaganda disseminated by Nazi Germany.  George Soros, the left’s sugar daddy and multi-million dollar contributor to MoveOn.org and NPR, likened Fox News to Nazi ideology.  A Republican caller to the Rush Limbaugh radio show called Rush a “brainwashed Nazi.”  At a townhall meeting, a woman confronted then Rep. Barney Frank and asked him, “Why do you continue to support [Obama’s] Nazi policy?”  Union members compared ex-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Hitler.  It goes on and on and on and never ends.

In other words, if you don’t agree with me, you’re a Nazi.

It’s becoming a meaningless cliché and using “Nazi” to make your point only makes you intellectually lazy.  Stop already!

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Authoritarianism Has Captivated the Right

dtDavid Harsanyi wrote an interesting column for The Federalist on Monday, entitled “Authoritarianism Is Not Confined To One Political Party: The shared governing philosophy of contemporary liberalism and Trumpism”.

As you can probably guess, the piece focuses on a topic I’ve written a lot about (and have taken a fair amount of heat for) over the past year and a half: the Right’s embrace of the same political sensibilities and style of governance that we excoriated under the Obama administration.

Harsanyi argues, “One of the few aspects of Obama’s legacy likely to survive the Trump years is his mainstreaming of the notion that the executive branch has an authority to do whatever it likes if the law-making branch ‘fails to act’ — a phrase Democrats used incessantly over the past six years.”

Sure enough, conservative opposition to executive overreach (in the name of “getting things done”) has largely fallen by the wayside under President Trump, perhaps most notably in the area of immigration policy.

The Right rightfully flipped out over (and questioned the legality of) Obama single-handedly changing the legal status of scores of people in this country, but when it came to restricting entry for thousands of potential refugees, oversight and the separation of powers weren’t all that concerning.

When Obama publicly scolded the Supreme Court over its Citizens United ruling, conservatives (again rightfully) were up in arms. However, when Trump attacked a “so-called judge” (as he put it) for placing a temporary restraining order on his travel-ban executive order, righties portrayed the judge’s action not as a ‘check on power,’ but as obstructionism.

People can agree with a policy, and still recognize a double-standard when it comes to the use of executive power to put it into law, can’t they? Maybe not.

Like so many other components of Trump’s political agenda, the Republican base has traded in principles for actions (often as payback against the Left), even when those actions are in direct conflict with the positions the base has long believed in (small government, free trade, individual liberty, etc.)

I totally understand and respect the willingness to give our new president a chance to succeed; we should absolutely do that. But thus far, it appears as though the promises of Republicans to hold Trump accountable for his actions were probably just half-hearted suggestions.

To give credit where credit is true, Trump did throw the old base a bone with his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a move which will undoubtedly earn him additional good will, even with his critics on the Right. As Rich Lowry of National Review wrote, Gorsuch is the “anti-Trump” — a federalist who has called our government’s separation of powers “among the most important liberty-protecting devices of the constitutional design.”

So if you’re worried by Trump’s attempt at authoritative governance, like I am, Gorsuch should provide a bit of relief. What I’m extremely skeptical of, however, is the notion that principled conservatives will serve as a positive influence on the Trump presidency. If anything, Trump has been a negative influence on conservatives, and that includes high-profile opinion-makers.

Many (probably most) within the conservative media have pledged allegiance to Trumpism, and that’s not a good thing if you legitimately believe in conservatism. Some hosts won’t even allow Trump critics on their television shows anymore. This morning, radio-host Hugh Hewitt even vowed to disallow any Republican who votes against Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, from ever appearing on his show again.

Again, this isn’t conservatism.

Whatever happened to the Right rejecting collectivism, scrutinizing the powerful, and promoting free thought? Is being a team player all that matters these days?

I guess we’ll see in the coming months and years.

A Few Glad Tidings

I don’t mind admitting I’m relieved that the Boston bombers were Muslims. While I regret the murders and mutilations committed by the Chechen brothers, I admit I was worried that the mayhem had been perpetrated by native-born Americans. That’s because I am so sick and tired of the politically correct crowd countering legitimate attacks on radical Islam by playing the moral equivalence game every chance they get.

You can bet that if they had been Americans, the liberal pinheads would have immediately identified them as conservative ideologues who were card-carrying members of the Sarah Palin Fan Club. Then they would have quickly dragged Timothy McVeigh and the Tea Party into the mix. The way some people insist on providing cover for Muslim jihadists, you would think that Islam was a major religion in America, when in reality there are only about two million followers of Allah in the entire country.

For a while, I figured that Obama, in spite of his all-out crusade against the Second Amendment, would at most get his universal background check. But, in spite of pulling those Newtown parents out of his back pocket every 20 minutes, he couldn’t even muster enough votes for that. It’s beginning to look as if his lame duck status has already been recognized even by his fellow Democrats.

When it appeared that he would have to settle for the background checks, even after going full-bore after guns and bullets, I was picturing him running a series of victory laps, pretending he had landed a knockout punch on law-abiding gun owners. It would have been like a guy vowing to climb Mount Everest, going up five feet and coming back down. When asked about his failure to reach the summit, Obama would have said, “I said I would climb it. I never said how high.”

But as things turned out, he couldn’t even claim he’d set foot on Everest. The best he could do was mail Michelle a postcard from Nepal: “Having a wonderful time. Not climbing any mountains for the foreseeable future. Love to the kids.”

Another piece of good news comes our way from Brevard Community College, where the administration fired Prof. Sharon Sweet for last year forcing her students to sign the following: “I pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”

Aside from the fact that a college actually had the courage to fire a professor, the biggest surprise is that she’s a professor of mathematics. I would have bet on political science, black studies, Hispanic studies or lesbian studies. Those tend to be the departments where the pinheads congregate, whereas math, science and engineering, tend to attract intelligent professors, along with those students whose life plans generally include moving out of their parents’ basements.

One of the things included in the immigration reform bill proposed by the Gang of Eight that caught my attention was the part where it mentioned that proof of the border being secure would be when Homeland Security managed to stop 90% of those people attempting to sneak in.

One, I know how to count those we manage to round up, but how on earth do you count those who elude capture? And, two, if you manage to do everything necessary to prevent illegal aliens from sneaking in, how and why would those ten-percenters continue to get through? How much lower can expectations go?

Wouldn’t it be like the warden of Sing Sing addressing a convention of his fellow wardens, and saying, “Fellas, we’re all doing a hell of a job. Only one out of every 10 prisoners is breaking out of jail! Drinks for everyone!”

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.